329. Independence Day

Movie: Independence Day

Release Date: July 3, 1996

Director: Roland Emmerich

Starring: Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Mary McDonnell, Judd Hirsch, Margaret Colin, Randy Quaid, Robert Loggia, James Rebhorn, Harvey Fierstein.

Tag Lines: “We’ve always believed we weren’t alone. On July 4th, we’ll wish we were.”

“THESE extraterrestrials don’t want to phone home…They want OUR home.”

“Don’t make plans for August.”

Relevance: I never have or never will be a football fan. It’s boring as hell. I barely even watch the Super Bowl. I have attended a few Super Bowl parties to enjoy friends, family, snacks, commercials and half time shows, but when the football starts, I pay zero attention. In 1996, I was not at a Super Bowl party. For some odd reason (maybe I was really trying to convince people that I was straight) the game was on at my little apartment in Massachusetts. I couldn’t tell you who won the game or who even played for that matter. I do know Diana Ross did the half time show and at the end of her performance was carried away in a helicopter. More importantly one of the commercials during the game was a trailer for the movie ‘Independence Day.’

The dramatic trailer during the Super Bowl for which the studio paid $1.3 million was very memorable and one of the most talked about commercials the next day. Remember, this was way before the internet and YouTube. The only way to see movie trailers was on TV or at the movies. So when I saw the White House being blown up that night, I knew I had to see the movie when it opened in July.

And that is what I did. The movie opened on July 3rd of that year, but I had made plans to see it on the 4th of July. Unfortunately so did everyone else in Massachusetts. Again, this movie was released in a time with different experiences. There were no apps or websites to buy tickets or to see what times it was playing. You either looked it up in a newspaper or went to the theater. I really miss those days of going to a theater and seeing lines of people wrapped around it to see a movie. Sadly, that is not a common occurrence these days with everyone buying advance tickets and picking their seats. Thankfully I was able to get a ticket for one of the shows and got to see ‘Independence Day’ on Independence Day just like I planned to do that January.

1996 was a big year for me and movies. There are actually fifteen movies from that year on this list. I had already seen ‘Twister’ (a movie I will be watching later this year) in theaters that May. ‘Twister’ was the movie that was in neck and neck competition to be the number one summer blockbuster against ‘Independence Day.’ ‘Independence Day’ won that battle and actually became the number one movie of 1996 overall with over $817 million worldwide. ‘Twister’ finished the year at number two with over $494 million.

To say I loved the movie is an understatement. It was great fun to see on the big screen and it had everything you wanted in a summer blockbuster flick: action, humor, romance and the White House being blown up. It’s a movie that I have watched countless times throughout the years and will always stop and watch it when I see it playing on TBS or AMC.

Today’s Thoughts: Super cheesy. Silly plot. Aged special effects. Questionable acting.

And I still loved every minute of it. Always will.

It’s such a fun movie and that is coming from a man that doesn’t love science fiction movies all that much. I do love the ensemble cast. Everyone from Will Smith to Harvey “Oh, crap” Fierstein is absolutely great. But a special shout out to Jeff Goldblum. He is one of my favorite “bad acting great actors” that I absolutely love him and will watch anything that he does. Yes, the effects look weak compared to those in 2020, but what do you expect. Back in 1996, they were top-notch. Oh and the dog lives and Harry Connick, Jr, of whom I am not a fan, gets blown up! Bonus!

This is also a movie that I quote quite often:

“Oh god, I hope they bring back Elvis.”

“Now that’s what I call a close encounter!”

“I have got to get me one of these!”

“Yes, yes. Yes. Without the “oops”.”

There’s really nothing more I have to say about this movie. Watch it if you haven’t seen it, and do so with a big bowl of popcorn. Don’t watch the sequel though. It sucks.

Awards: Academy Award for Best Effects, Visual Effects, Volker Engel, Douglas Smith, Clay Pinney, Joe Viskocil (winner), Academy Award for Best Sound, Chris Carpenter, Bill W. Benton, Bob Beemer, Jeff Wexler (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Sound, Chris Carpenter, Bill W. Benton, Bob Beemer, Jeff Wexler (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Achievement in Special Visual Effects, Tricia Henry Ashford, Volker Engel, Clay Pinney, Douglas Smith, Joe Viskocil.

Ways to Watch: Amazon Prime, iTunes, Vudu, fuboTV, Philo, DVD Availability.

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